The Thunder Mountain baseball team came in confident Thursday morning against a Petersburg squad it had played well against all season.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, Taylor Pullar was dealing.
The Vikings’ ace threw a 3-hit, 13-strikeout gem as Petersburg took the opener of the Region V Baseball Tournament 8-0 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
The Vikings’ righty threw a complete game on 120 pitches in what was a dominant performance, but Falcons co-manager Matt Greeley said he wasn’t happy with the way his team performed.
“I just didn’t think we attacked the baseball, both on offense and defense,” he said. “We came out flat, and that’s just not something we can afford to do against anyone.”
Though Thunder Mountain was not on its game as much as Greeley had hoped, it did have a chance in the fifth inning.
Trailing 3-0, Thunder Mountain second baseman Dustin Rumfelt and catcher Camden Thomas led off the bottom of the inning with a couple of singles before designated hitter Dennis Barril struck out swinging for the first out. Left fielder Brian Mielke then drew a walk to load the bases for the top of the order with just one away in the frame.
But first baseman Chatham Miller struck out swinging and shortstop Ben Bullock smoked a line drive straight at the third baseman to end the inning without plating a run.
“That inning had the potential to be a big inning,” co-manager Bill McCauley said. “We actually started hitting the ball hard at that time, but it didn’t go in our favor.”
After the Vikings’ defense kept the Falcons from scoring, the offense took advantage. Petersburg came out in the top of the sixth and drove in five runs to make the score 8-0, effectively putting the game out of reach.
It was just one of those innings where everything seemed to find a hole for the Vikings, McCauley said.
“There were some really soft liners that fell in,” he said. “When you make mistakes, things just seem to start going against you.
“But hats off to Taylor Pullar,” he continued. “He pitched a great game and deserved the win.”
Bullock, Thomas and Rumfelt had the only three hits for TMHS, but it was Mielke who reached base in all three of his plate appearances.
Pitchers Xavier Dunn and Gus Swanton combined to give up eight earned runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, while Jackson Pavitt gave up just one hit and no runs in 1 1/3 innings of work in relief.
The Falcons have one more chance to keep their tournament hopes alive today at 10:30 a.m. against Ketchikan. Greeley said they have to approach this game with a different mentality.
“We have to win. We have to compete. If we win we stay in, and that’s the whole focus,” he said. “This tournament is geared toward winning, so we have to go out and do that.”